This case was about the right to publish a literary work. Stephen Austin obtained a patent from the Crown to publish the second edition of “A New History of the Holy Bible,” by Rev. Thomas Stackhouse. Austin died, leaving his estate to his wife, Elizabeth. She then died after marrying John Hinton, the pursuer. In 1765, defender James Meurose completed another edition of Stackhouse’s book, and in 1767, defenders Alexander Donaldson and John Wood agreed to reprint copies of certain volumes. Hinton sued all three men on the ground that the new edition violated his common law property right in the work. By this time, the patent had expired, and there was no statutory claim. The defenders argued that the common law of Scotland did not provide a perpetual right to so-called literary property.
William Morison, The Decisions of the Court of Session (1811), pg. 8307